Category Archives: Microsoft

Apply Chat Automation today – Work smarter tomorrow

Over the past two weeks I have had the opportunity to speak at both the Mississippi and the Munich PowerShell user groups to share my thoughts on how to apply Chat Automation. For those of you who have been following my blog you know this has not been the first time talking on this subject.

Chat Automation is an interesting subject as it allows for applying existing scripted resources, modules and automations in a new context. For example I showed how an existing script can be leveraged by PoshBot and made available to non technical users, while adhering to existing security constraints.

As I gave the presentation to the Mississippi PowerShell user group remotely I do not have any photos available of that presentation, but it was recorded and made available on MSPSUG YouTube channel:

Mississippi PowerShell User Group  – Apply Chat Automation today, work smarter tomorrow

At the Munich PowerShell Saturday we had a crowd of 90 attendees and a fun-filled day with great speakers. To get an impression of the event I have shared the following photos taken at the event:

The code has been shared on GitHub in my Events repository:
Mississippi PowerShell User Group

The code has been shared on GitHub in my Events repository:
PSSaturday Munich

I also shared the slides I used and my other presentations on SlideShare:


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A week in Singapore – DevOps Days and PowerShell Conference Asia

Last week was a very busy for us over in Singapore, together with the PowerShell Conference Asia team we organized a 3-day conference in Singapore. In the same week the DevOps Days Singapore team hosted their conference and I was a speaker at this event as well.

This year marked the third year of being a part of PSConfAsia, the first two years I was a speaker there, this year I joined the PSConfAsia team and helped organize the event. We were all very pleased with the quality of content that the speakers have provided us with as well as with the attendance of the PowerShell Team. We have seen both speakers and attendees fly from far and beyond to join us and the conference and we can proudly say we made it worth their time.

DevOps Days Singapore

At DevOps Days I presented an ignite talk, a five minute speech on a single topic. Now 5 minutes for a talk is already a challenging, but the second condition was that the slides should automatically advance to the next every 15 seconds. While I have been giving short talks for a while, the challenge of timing a talk to match up with the slides.

The code has been shared on GitHub in my Events repository:
Automation – How I came to see the light

A video of the whole day of DevOps Days is also available, here is the link to the start of my Ignite session:

PowerShell Conference Asia

The PowerShell Conference Asia resumes for its 3rd year this October, bringing speakers from Asia and around the world to deliver in-depth PowerShell and DevOps sessions. Speakers include the Microsoft PowerShell Product Team from headquarters in Redmond and a strong line-up of MVPs, well-known international speakers, and community contributors.

At PSConfAsia I spoke on Automation and how to secure your environment. This is a story of how I used some low-level techniques to investigate, re mediate and patch vulnerabilities of a mixed infrastructure environment.

The code has been shared on GitHub in my Events repository:
Secure your environment by automation

I also shared the slides I used and my other presentations on SlideShare:

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Paint it blue with PowerShell – China MVP Community Connection

Earlier this week I was invited to attend and speak at the Chinese MVP event, China MVP Community Connection in Hangzhou. As a foreign MVP at a local event it was a very interesting experience to discuss the common issues they ran into and compare that to the struggle and challenges we face back over at Europe.

To paraphrase the description of the MVP CC site:

2017 Microsoft’s MVP China Summit – China MVP Community Connection will be held in Hangzhou, China on October 20-21, 2017. The Microsoft MVP team is here to invite you to participate in this fall summit, with hundreds of MVPs from all over the country gathered together to discuss the future direction in which we are headed.

There have been some photos taken at the event which are available here:

My session was called Paint it blue with PowerShell, a session about implementing PowerShell in your workflow to prevent context switching. For engineers and developers working on a diverse range of operating systems and cloud platform having a uniform scripting language can be beneficial and I highlighted the benefits in this presention. The slides have been shared on GitHub in my Events repository:

China MVP Community Connection 2017

I also shared the slides I used and my other presentations on SlideShare:

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Dutch PowerShell User Group – Basics part Deux

It had already been well over a year since the first iteration of the DuPSUG Basics day, but yesterday we finally had the opportunity to host our second day of basic PowerShell training. This time we were hosted at the Sogeti office in Vianen.

BEGIN END SPEAKER TITLE
09:15 10:30 Mark van de Waarsenburg Powershell basics
10:40 11:25 Erik Heeres Powershell Remoting
11:30 12:15 Jaap Brasser [MVP] Manage your infrastructure with PowerShell
13:15 14:00 Robert Prust Improving your scripts
14:00 14:45 Ralph Eckhard Powershell for Office 365 Administrators
15:20 16:05 Jeff Wouters [MVP] Tips and tricks
16:10 16:45 DuPSUG Speakers Ask us (almost) anything

The Dutch PowerShell User Group has a GitHub repository where all the demos and slides of the presenters will be gathered:

Dutch PowerShell User Group – Basics Deux

To give you an impression of the event I have included the following photos:

The code and the presentation has been shared on GitHub in my Events repository:
Manage your Infrastructure with PowerShell

I also shared the slides I used and my other presentations on SlideShare:

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Austin PowerShell Users Group – Slides and Code

Last week I had the pleasure of presenting for the Austin PowerShell UG, this is a group run by Ricc Babbitt. During this session I presented the following topic:

Reach the next level with PowerShell

During this presentation I walked the audience through the process of developing a short script to gather information from a system. I pinpointed a number of steps that you can take while developing a script and how to combine the output from different sources in order to get a complete picture of what is running in your environment.

The code has been shared on GitHub in my Events repository:

Reach the next level with PowerShell

I also shared the slides I used and my other presentations on SlideShare:


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Decipher obfuscated URLs with PowerShell

I recently received a message on Skype from a friend I had not talked to for a while, I was happy to see it was spam. Not because it was spam, but because it was using an encoded Url. After taking a quick look at the structure I thought, this is definitely something I can decode.

To me this looked like hexadecimal code, and I quickly threw together a PowerShell one-liners to decode to decode this, note that I skip the first six character because:

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-join [char[]](
'%6A%61%61%70%62%72%61%73%73%65%72%2E%63%6F%6D' -split '%' |
Where-Object {$_} | ForEach-Object {[Convert]::ToInt32($_,16)})

This provides us with the following output:

jaapbrasser.com

Because this is a little bit hard to read, let’s break it up into chunks:

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$Split      = '%6A%61%61%70%62%72%61%73%73%65%72%2E%63%6F%6D' -split '%'
$Split      = $Split | Where-Object {$_}
$Integers   = $Split | ForEach-Object {[Convert]::ToInt32($_,16)})
$Characters = [char[]]$Integers
-join $Characters

So let’s go line-by-line through what the code does:

  1. Split the code on the %-character
  2. Skip the first entry, because we split on %, the first result will be empty and can cause errors later
  3. Convert the hexadecimal number to integers using the Convert type accelerator
  4. Convert the integers to Char by strong typing them to a Char array
  5. Use the join operator to turn it into a string

So now that we have this complete, we no longer have to guess where the encoded link is going to lead us. In my case, the link of my friend happened to take me a Russian website trying to get me involved in binary option trading:

For more information about percent encoding as a concept, have a look at the Wikipedia page over here:

Wikipedia – Percent-Encoding

I have created a function for to be able to perform this this conversion in the future, I made it available on GitHub, TechNet Gallery and the PowerShell Gallery:

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Wrapup of BSides Amsterdam 2017

Last Friday I had the pleasure to speak at BSides Amsterdam, a security centered conference that hosted its first iteration in Amsterdam. I could not pass up on the opportunity to attend this event. Here is an excerpt about the BSides concept from their site at bsidesams.nl:

Security BSides is a community-driven framework for building events, by and for, information security community members. These events are already happening in major cities all over the world! We are responsible for organizing an independent BSides-Approved event in Amsterdam, for the Netherlands.

It was a full day with topics ranging from hardware hacking to botnet infrastructure. With 13 sessions on a single day it was very interesting to take part in this event and to be able to speak and network with professionals from all different sides of the spectrum. I have attached some pictures to give you an impression of the day at BSides Amsterdam:

It was a full day with topics ranging from hardware hacking to botnet infrastructure. With 13 sessions on a single day it was very interesting to take part in this event and to be able to speak and network with professionals from all different sides of the spectrum.

At the event I spoke about using PowerShell to Automate security and specifically about how to detect malicious activity. All the code and slides are as always available in my Events GitHub repository:

Automating security with PowerShell

I also shared this slidedeck and my others on SlideShare:

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